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Picovoice Brings Real-Time Speech Recognition to Offline Devices

Picovoice, a Canadian AI startup, has developed a real-time speech recognition engine that can run offline anywhere, from a $5 Raspberry Pi Zero to within a web browser.

Despite the ubiquity of speech-enabled devices, processing speech in the cloud has raised major privacy concerns with the uploading and handling of personal voice data. Cloud speech recognition also has fundamental limitations in terms of latency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness at scale. 

Picovoice says offline speech recognition has the potential to address these issues by eliminating the need for connectivity and tapping into readily available compute resources on billions of devices. Alas, the computational cost of speech recognition algorithms to date has made it impossible to get comparable accuracy on an edge device.

Picovoice has developed deep learning technology specifically designed to run speech recognition efficiently on commodity hardware with limited compute resources. Its bespoke voice AI technology enables Picovoice to run real-time speech-to-text on a $5  Raspberry Pi Zero or locally within a web browser. This lowers latency and cost while respecting user privacy by not requiring their speech data to leave their device.

Picovoice routinely publishes open-source benchmarks for their products including their recent speech-to-text engine. The benchmarks indicate that the software is matching the accuracy of major cloud providers such as Google and Amazon while running locally on a small embedded device.

Picovoice software is used by dozens of enterprise licensees, including Fortune 500 companies. LG, Whirlpool, and Local Motors are among those that they can mention. Picovoice technology has already received immense interest from enterprises who are trying to push AI to the edge.

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